Monday’s Mini-Report

MONDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Afghanistan: “Two separate roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan killed seven U.S. service members in southern Afghanistan Monday, NATO said. The deaths bring to 14 the number of U.S. troops killed in action in eastern and southern Afghanistan over the past three days.”

* On a related note: “Despite the presence of almost 150,000 foreign troops, violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.”

* Biden in Iraq: “Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in Baghdad on Monday to commemorate the official end of the United States combat mission and meet with Iraqi political leaders, who have yet to form a government more than five months after the March election.”

* New Orleans: “President Obama on Sunday sought to assure this city, battered by two catastrophic disasters in five years, that federal efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina would not waver even as the city struggles with the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”

* Consumer spending edges higher: “Americans spent last month at the fastest pace in four months, helped by a jump in demand for automobiles. Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in July after three lackluster months, the Commerce Department said Monday. Spending fell 0.1 percent in April, rose a tiny 0.1 percent in May and was flat in June.”

* Pakistan’s flooding crisis also means a food crisis.

* Keeping an eye on Hurricane Earl.

* Agent Orange and veterans: a 40-Year wait.

* We know a fair amount about Bush-era scandals, corruption, fraud, and mismanagement — but imagine what we’d know if the Bush White House hadn’t “lost” so many officials’ emails.

* I’ve been meaning to highlight Jane Mayer’s piece on David and Charles Koch, right-wing billionaires going to great lengths, mainly through their “Americans for Prosperity” outfit, to finance Republican efforts in 2010. Frank Rich’s column on this yesterday was terrific. (Pay particular attention why comparisons to George Soros are misguided.)

* Daniel Luzer and Justin Peters explore the disclosure/ethics issues involved with the Washington Post‘s ownership of Kaplan, and its reporting on education policy.

* Fox News had a guest on this morning who believes teen pregnancies stem from lessons on evolution. He was serious.

* And The Onion wins the week with “Local Man Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims.” (On a related note, The Onion probably needs to interview the perpetually silly James Tarnato, whose work often defies parody.)

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.